Style Details

Ger­man Wheat Beer
BJCP Style Code
10 C
Pale and dark ver­si­ons exist, with pale ver­si­ons being light gold to light amber, and dark ver­si­ons being dark amber to dark ruby-brown in color. A very thick, moussy, long-las­ting white to off-white (pale ver­si­ons) or light tan (dark ver­si­ons) head is cha­rac­te­ristic. The high pro­te­in con­tent of wheat impairs cla­ri­ty in this tra­di­tio­nal­ly unfil­te­red style, alt­hough the level of haze is some­what varia­ble. Sus­pen­ded yeast sedi­ment can con­tri­bu­te to the cloudiness.
Medi­um-high to high mal­ty-rich cha­rac­ter with a signi­fi­cant brea­dy-grai­ny wheat com­po­nent. Paler ver­si­ons will have a brea­dy-toasty mal­ty rich­ness, while dar­ker ver­si­ons will have a deeper, richer malt pre­sence with signi­fi­cant Mail­lard pro­ducts. The malt com­po­nent is simi­lar to a hel­les bock for pale ver­si­ons (grai­ny-sweet-rich, light­ly toas­ted) or a dunk­les bock for dark ver­si­ons (brea­dy-mal­ty-rich, high­ly toas­ted, optio­nal cara­mel). The yeast con­tri­bu­tes a typi­cal wei­zen cha­rac­ter of bana­na and spi­ce (clove, vanil­la), which can be medi­um-low to medi­um-high. Dar­ker ver­si­ons can have some dark fruit aro­ma (plums, pru­nes, gra­pes, rai­sins), par­ti­cu­lar­ly as they age. A low to mode­ra­te alco­hol aro­ma is accep­ta­ble, but shouldn’t be hot or sol­ven­ty. No hop aro­ma. The malt, yeast, and alco­hol intert­wi­ne to pro­du­ce a com­plex, invi­ting, pro­mi­nent bouquet.
Simi­lar to the aro­ma, a medi­um-high to high mal­ty-rich fla­vor tog­e­ther with a signi­fi­cant brea­dy-grai­ny wheat fla­vor. Paler ver­si­ons will have a brea­dy, toasty, grai­ny-sweet malt rich­ness, while dar­ker ver­si­ons will have deeper, brea­dy-rich or toas­ted malt fla­vors with signi­fi­cant Mail­lard pro­ducts, optio­nal cara­mel. Low to mode­ra­te bana­na and spi­ce (clove, vanil­la) yeast cha­rac­ter. Dar­ker ver­si­ons can have some dark fruit fla­vor (plums, pru­nes, gra­pes, rai­sins), par­ti­cu­lar­ly as they age. A light cho­co­la­te cha­rac­ter (but not roast) is optio­nal in dar­ker ver­si­ons. No hop fla­vor. A low hop bit­ter­ness can give a slight­ly sweet pala­te impres­si­on, but the beer typi­cal­ly finis­hes dry (some­ti­mes enhan­ced by a light alco­hol cha­rac­ter). The inter­play bet­ween the malt, yeast, and alco­hol adds com­ple­xi­ty and inte­rest, which is often enhan­ced with age. 
Medi­um-full to full body. A fluffy or cre­a­my tex­tu­re is typi­cal, as is the mild warm­ing sen­sa­ti­on of sub­stan­ti­al alco­hol con­tent. Mode­ra­te to high carbonation.
Over­all Impression
A strong, mal­ty, frui­ty, wheat-based ale com­bi­ning the best malt and yeast fla­vors of a weiss­bier (pale or dark) with the mal­ty-rich fla­vor, strength, and body of a Dunk­les Bock or Doppelbock.
Typi­cal Ingredients
A high per­cen­ta­ge of mal­ted wheat is used (by Ger­man bre­wing tra­di­ti­on must be at least 50%, alt­hough it may con­tain up to 70%), with the rema­in­der being Munich- and/or Vien­na-type bar­ley malts in dar­ker ver­si­ons, and more Pils malt in paler ver­si­ons. Some color malts may be used spa­rin­gly. A tra­di­tio­nal decoc­tion mash can give the appro­pria­te body wit­hout cloy­ing sweet­ness. Wei­zen ale yeasts pro­du­ce the typi­cal spi­cy and frui­ty cha­rac­ter. Too warm or too cold fer­men­ta­ti­on will cau­se the phe­nols and esters to be out of balan­ce and may crea­te off-fla­vors. Hop choice is essen­ti­al­ly irrele­vant, but Ger­man varie­ties are most traditional.
Aven­ti­nus, the world’s oldest top-fer­men­ted wheat dop­pel­bock, was crea­ted in 1907 at the Schnei­der Weis­se Brau­haus in Munich. 
A Weiss­bier bre­wed to bock or dop­pel­bock strength. Schnei­der also pro­du­ces an Eis­bock ver­si­on. Pale and dark ver­si­ons exist, alt­hough dark are more com­mon. Pale ver­si­ons have less rich malt com­ple­xi­ty and often more hops, as with dop­pel­bocks. Light­ly oxi­dized Mail­lard pro­ducts can pro­du­ce some rich, inten­se fla­vors and aro­mas that are often seen in aged impor­ted com­mer­cial pro­ducts; fres­her ver­si­ons will not have this cha­rac­ter. Well-aged examp­les might also take on a slight sher­ry-like complexity.
Com­mer­cial Examples
Dark –Eisen­bahn Wei­zen­bock, Plank Bava­ri­an Dunk­ler Wei­zen­bock, Penn Wei­zen­bock, Schnei­der Unser Aven­ti­nus; Pale –Plank Bava­ri­an Hel­ler Wei­zen­bock, Wei­hen­ste­pha­ner Vitus
Ori­gi­nal Gravity
1.064 - 1.090 SG
Final Gra­vi­ty
1.015 - 1.022 SG
6 - 25 SRM
6.0 - 9.0 %vol
15 - 30 IBU